Violent crimes decreased in Columbia in 2008, but were up slightly in Richland County, according to the FBI's annual crime report released Monday.
In Columbia, violent crimes were down 30 percent, to 1,079 from 1,542.
"That's good news," said Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter, saying good police work, an aggressive outreach to neighborhood groups and active citizen participation in reporting crimes were main factors.
"Boots on the ground and citizen involvement were major dynamics."
Another factor might have led to Columbia's crime drop.
In early 2007, a secret FBI investigation resulted in the federal indictment and arrest of more than 60 members or associates of the violent Gangster Killer Bloods, a major crack cocaine drug distribution gang operating in the heart of Columbia.
By late 2007, many of those indicted were on their way to prison for long terms.
Asked if the FBI's targeting of Columbia's most hardened criminals and getting them off the streets had helped lower city crime statistics, Chief Carter said, "That's a possibility. But how do you measure that?"
Richland County had 2,438 violent crimes in 2008, up 6 percent from the year before, when there were 2,282 violent crimes.
Violent crimes included in the FBI statistics are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.
A Richland County spokesman could not be reached for an observation on the crime uptick.
Lexington County 2008 crime stats were not reported Monday, and it was a mystery as to why Lexington statistics weren't included in the FBI report. The Midlands county is one of the state's most populous.
"Obviously, there was a glitch of some kind somewhere," said Lexington County Sheriff's Department spokesman John Allard.
"We transmit the statistics to SLED on a regular basis, and SLED transmits them to the FBI," Allard said.
A State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman confirmed late Monday that Lexington does forward statistics. SLED is looking into why Lexington County's statistics did not turn up in the latest FBI report, she said.
On the property crime front, the city of Columbia reported slightly fewer property crimes in 2008 - 6,825 this year, down from 6,963 last year. That's a drop of about 2 percent.
In Richland County, property crimes were up - to 9,785 from 8,715 last year.
That category includes burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
The Midlands statistics are in line with national crime trends.
Nationwide, violent crime declined 1.9 percent and property crimes, 0.8 percent.
The data are contained in the FBI's 2008 Crime in the United States report.